I have had a love affair for a very long time. But don’t worry friends…it’s skincare! For nearly 20 years, I have been secretly (not so secretly) collecting an arsenal of organic health and beauty products and oh boy, you should see my bathroom cabinets! If there was an “Anonymous” meeting for skincare lovers, I would be a happy attendee. But for me to achieve great skin means I eat my skincare. I know it sounds weird and you are probably asking why di I eat my skincare.
Why I Eat My Skincare
I fell in love with the idea of skinfood (and the brands that create them) in my early 20s. If you don’t already know, skinfood is health and beauty products that you could quite literally eat if you had to. Now I’m not saying that if I were stranded on a deserted island with only one thing to eat for the rest of my life that skinfood would be it, but it does land pretty high on my list of loves.
Quick Trivial Pursuit question: what is your body’s largest organ? Liver? Lungs?
Nope! It’s your skin. I didn’t know this fun fact until I was in early adulthood. But ever since I found out the answer to that anatomy question, I took a close look at my skincare. And boy, my findings were scary.
I got connected to the Environmental Working Group’s site Skin Deep (www.ewg.org/skindeep), which rates toxicity levels for all sorts of health and beauty products. Some of the seemingly high quality and definitely high-priced skincare I was using at the time had ingredients that, according to the site, “could be linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption,” to name a few. I didn’t need an M.D. at the end of my name to understand that this was NOT GOOD.
So, I made a huge life pivot toward healthy skin and body products. I vowed to take care of my largest organ and my body’s first line of defense in the most natural way possible. And do you know what happened? My acne cleared up, my scars substantially decreased, and for the first time in my life, I was healing my skin not by putting harsh chemicals and treatments on my face but my nourishing myself with products that were pure, heavenly scented and, drumroll please, actually worked long-term!
Now you might be wondering, “What are these products and how can I get my hands on them?” Good question! There are quite literally millions of beauty products on the market today but how do you know which ones are truly pure? You could start with the Skin Deep site to see if what you are currently using could be hazardous to your health. If it is, maybe it’s time for your own life pivot.
I was lucky enough to have been mentored by one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most holistic estheticians that I have ever known, Kathy Stephens. For over 15 years, she taught me how to use discretion when choosing my skincare regime. Unfortunately, her death in 2017 left me feeling lost, both in life and in the life lessons she taught me about health and true beauty.
But being the devout student that I’ve always been, I took notes. I listened. And even though she has been gone for several years and my life will never be the same, I want to share the wisdom that this pint-sized powerhouse blessed me with:
- Research the company before committing to purchase
Kathy believed that a product is only as good–as pure–as the company (or person) who is creating it. So do your due diligence. Find out where the product is sourced, where it is made and what kinds of ingredients are in them. I have come to purchase products from primarily small-batch companies, not those sold in large chain health food stores. But I didn’t start there and maybe you won’t either and that’s OK.
- Check the ingredient list
This seems somewhat obvious, but I think of this like I do my food. If I don’t know what an ingredient is on a package of food, then I often do not buy it. Same with skincare. If I don’t recognize what an ingredient is, it’s not going on my face. Kathy used to make a lot of her own skin tonics and those were often my favorites. She would dry her own herbs, mix with water and then allow the synthesis of the sun to create this powerful and healing liquid. Now I’m not saying that you need to begin crafting your own beauty products, but I recommend that you know what the heck is going on your skin.
- Let another beauty connoisseur do the work for you
This might be one of my favorite suggestions because it takes the guesswork out. There are lots of businesses, social media influencers and online markets who are doing the research and reporting their results. So why not try what they recommend? For me, my health and beauty guru is the subscription-based Beauty Heroes (https://www.beauty-heroes.com/). I now get the vast majority of my skincare products from them because, 1) I have researched the company and 100% believe the quality and standard that they hold their recommended products to; and 2) I have checked the ingredient lists and they check off every box for me. Their recommended companies are often small craft-batched, sustainably sourced and the stories of their founders are powerful, moving, and to me, healing.
Kathy will always be one of my greatest mentors and will forever be etched into my heart as one who helped me dive deep into the world of holistic health and healing. But now it is time to carry on her legacy and educate all of you about the powerful healing properties of feeding your face and nourishing your skin and body with the most loving, life-giving ingredients that money can buy. And take it from me, it is worth the investment.